Sandwich line: Sacrificing your time for others

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jared Duhon
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Spirituality means different things to different people. For some it means going to church or listening to inspirational music. For a few Team Dover members, it is the opportunity to serve and give back to others.

Dover Airmen volunteered at the Salvation Army's soup kitchen to help families in need Dec. 11-13, 2013, in Dover, Del. They made sandwiches alongside the soup kitchen staff, as well as put together baskets of food for more than 210 families.

"I volunteered at the Salvation Army to give those in need a helping hand," said Master Sgt. Anthony Foster, 436th Operation Support Squadron quality assurance NCO in charge. "The biggest thing for me is the gratitude that I get from helping those in our community. Food is a symbol of hope even if it is a short-term one. For some, seeing people care about them gives them long-term hope."

Senior Airman Patricia Snyder, 436th Comptroller Squadron assistant quality assurance manager, said the Airmen who volunteered were able to provide an important service to the community.

"The event offers Airmen the opportunity to give back to a community that supports them year round," said Snyder. "Each Airman that worked at the Salvation Army and helped distribute these meals will have a sense of personal growth."

Personal growth may not be in the forefront of an Airman's mind when they volunteer, but the impact of their time and service doesn't go unnoticed.

Susan Tatmen, a mother in need, says that she goes to the Salvation Army every year and that she appreciates all that the volunteers, especially the Airmen do for those in need.

"I have three children and need the help," said Tatmen. "It's great the Airmen are helping, the Salvation Army needs it. I am very grateful for what they provide to me and my family."

The Dover Salvation Army's pastor, Jeny Shurtleff, believes the Airmen were a big help, creating lunches for 210 families or 787 adults and children, as well as helping the soup kitchen staff.

"We provide food baskets to anyone who meets our qualifications and in our servicing area of Kent County," said Shurtleff. "We are so appreciative of the base. My husband and I have been at this Salvation Army for six years and are so grateful that the base has Airmen so willing to give their time to help us."

Foster said a simple gesture of help, no matter how small, can have a big impact not only on the present but on the future.

"Everything we do has the ability to affect others," Foster said. "Everything you do impacts others whether you notice it or not. Helping these families in need gives us the opportunity to impact them in a positive way."